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Oregon Public Health Institute Celebrates 2015 Genius Award Winners

October 1, 2015

13th Annual Billi Odegaard Public Health Genius Awards honor achievements and contributions to improving public health in Oregon. The Oregon Public Health Institute (OPHI) will honor Genius award recipients on October 9th at the Portland DoubleTree Hotel from 11:30-2:00. The luncheon is open to the public. Individual tickets are $75 and can be purchased online or by check.

Three recipients will be honored at the luncheon:

Emerging Leader Award: Elizur Bello Elizur Bello is a Community Health Worker at The Next Door Inc., in Hood River, where he serves as a Program Director. He leads Nuestra Comunidad Sana, or “Our Healthy Community,” which provides culturally appropriate health, economic development and education services to the Columbia Gorge Latino community. Elizur has been the driving force behind licensing the Nuestra Comunidad Sana curriculum and developing a CHW training center that has produced over 50 certified CHWs and provides them with ongoing professional development. Elizur is working to develop behavioral health care and preventive programs that will be novel, culturally proficient, and oriented by social justice, population health, the social determinants of health, and health equity.

Exceptional Group Award: Rebels for a Cause Rebels for a Cause is a student-led program of Providence Health and Services, which includes about 65 high school junior and senior students from three health programs spanning the tri-county area. Participants come from the Sabin-Schellenberg Professional Technical Center in Clackamas County, Beaverton High School in Washington County, and Madison High School in Multnomah County. Rebels for a Cause communicate the dangers of smoking and tobacco products to other middle and high school students. They develop presentations, public service announcements and printed materials, as well as participate in meetings, trainings, and leadership development opportunities. The group recently testified in support of electronic cigarette policies and regulations before the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners and State Legislature.

Lifetime Acheivement Award: Bruce Goldberg, MD

Bruce Goldberg first came to Oregon to join the faculty of the Department of Family Medicine and the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine of the Medical School of OHSU and worked hard to facilitate the development of community-oriented primary care focus in family medicine, and then moved on to leadership roles at OHSU, CareOregon, and the Oregon Health Policy and Research Office. Bruce was tapped by the Governor to became the Director of the Department of Human Services (DHS), where he continued to have enormous impact on the health of Oregonians and in 2009 helped guide the efforts to create the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), splitting off health functions from DHS and other executive branch locations. He was named as the first director of OHA, while still serving as director of DHS. Bruce helped to guide the creation of the Oregon health care transformation and the extraordinary expansion of the Oregon Health Plan and the implementation of the CCO movement in Oregon. During Bruce’s tenure in office the uninsured rate in Oregon went from around 15% to under 5%, an incredible achievement in which he played a major part. Bruce has embodied the “triple aim” in his career and Oregonians are better off for it.